What to bring to a job interview?- A Clear guide

What to bring to a job interview?

A job interview is your chance to make that lasting first impression on a potential employer. The items you choose to carry with you will assist you in a smooth delivery during your interview as you would have everything you need at your disposal. This will ensure that you can make references with ease as well as quickly glimpse pointers. Having a few essential items at hand during your interview will show your preparedness. These items help ease the nerves that build up during interviews as you will not be fumbling for responses. Selecting the right items for your interview will ensure your interview goes smoothly as well as portray your sense of style and etiquette. The Topic is What to bring to a job interview?

Contrary to popular belief, an interview is not an examination. Attending an interview adequately equipped is allowed and so are crib notes. Taking in the right equipment, stationery, notes, and documents will help you respond in a confident manner, minimize fumbling as well as give a great first impression. The items you carry into the interview play a vital role in directing the interview in your favor. Every little thing counts when you are vying for that all-important next job. Going all out to nab the position is a must and this includes the things you do, say, and have. Choose a few strategic items to give yourself the edge at your interview. This is a foolproof recipe for success.

Experts say we communicate most about ourselves through our body language and style. The way we present ourselves and the items we carry sets the tone for our verbal communication. You can say a lot just by the way you present yourself and your possessions. Your preparedness is another aspect that portrays your confidence and your capability. Selecting a few of the following items to carry with you to your interview will ensure smooth sailing and is sure to impress.


Stationery is a must in any meeting. The right stationery can enrich your look, portray your style as well as give you the added advantage of having the right tools at your fingertips when you need them.

  1.  Pens – Often overlooked, pens are a necessity at interviews. We may not expect to be writing at a face-to-face interview but it is always a good idea to have a pen handy. This will ensure you are prepared to write on or sign anything that may be presented to you in the interview. With a pen handy, you will be able to jot down a note or two and a reminder or two. Although the world leans toward digital, nothing says elegance better than a stylish pen. A spare pen is also a must. There is little worse than starting to write with no ink in your pen. 

  2. Journal/Notebook – It is impossible to remember everything that is said during an interview. It is, therefore, necessary to write information. This information will be in the form of responses given by the interviewer. It will also include information that you would like clarity on but could not address immediately. Dates and times of the next steps following the interview is also key information that you may need to write. Another person in the room may require something to write on and you could offer this to them. This will show responsibility and preparedness on your part.

  3. Miscellaneous Stationery Items – Depending on the type of interview you are attending, other items such as sticky notes, paper clips and plastic sleeves may come in handy and help maintain tidiness. These are a great way to assemble and order any documentation you may accumulate during the interview.


Having the right equipment at hand will help you give an engaging presentation. It also gives the impression that you are prepared and enthusiastic about meeting with the interviewer. 

  1. Laptop/Electronic Notebook – Having a laptop or tablet handy enables you to access documents and emails should the need arise.  These are great for those interviews where you are expected to deliver a presentation. These are also great for making references to previous correspondence, relevant documentation as well as demonstrations. With electronic devices, you also have the ability to search for information as well as schedule on the spot. Be careful not to google everything you don’t have an immediate answer to.

    It is perfectly fine to defer some responses for a later date or to admit that you are not familiar with some aspects. You can assure them that you will make it a point to find out. This is better than frantically searching for information while they await your response. It is safer to have these devices handy for aspects relevant to the interview and for presentation purposes.

  2. Calculator – A calculator is always handy to have at hand. Numbers always have a way of showing up in conversations. Having a calculator handy will help you tackle any calculations that may arise such as financial matters, quantities as well as quick numerical demonstrations.

  3. Electronic Pointer – These come in handy when doing projected presentations. It negates the need to be at the screen and is a professional way of directing the attention of your viewers.


Having the right documentation with you at an interview can make all the difference in how you perform. Your documentation will give you the upper hand during the interview.

  1. Resume – This is often omitted from our accompaniments because we assume the interviewer has already seen it and will not require us to bring it into the interview. Although the interviewer may have seen your resume, he/she will make reference to it during the interview. Whether the interviewer has a copy of your resume during the interview shouldn’t deter you from taking a copy with you. A spare copy is also a good idea so that you can hand a copy to the interviewer while making reference to it and at the end of the interview. It looks professional and shows the interviewer that you are well prepared.

  2. Vacancy Details – Having the details of the position you are being interviewed for will enable you to make references at a glance. This will also enable you to have at hand, the requirements and key functions of the job so that you can use these in your responses to the interviewer’s questions regarding your suitability for the position. 

  3. Notes – Carrying notes with you to your interview will help you in your responses. Your notes will help you maintain a steady flow during the interview. Having these notes in your notebook or electronic notebook will look professional as well as help you command the interview. These notes may be left open on the table during the interview and mention can be made to the interviewer that you have made a few notes in preparation for the interview. It will show initiative and show the interviewer that you are proactive. 

Key Pointers

Carrying in a page of key pointers will help jog your memory for your responses. We are, often, not as relaxed in interviews as we would normally be and it, therefore, proves very useful to jot down a few pointers prior to the interview to prompt our responses and questions without having to scan through the depths of our minds. This will help avoid those awkward silences and help you to be swift with your responses.

Your notes should not be lengthy as you should not be scrambling through pages during the interview. Jot down little pointers that will help you along. These pointers could be in the form of a few of your strengths regarding the position and a few points describing your key attributes that would be beneficial in the position.

Questions for the Interviewer

An interview is generally perceived as an interrogation. It is, however, a conversation between you and your potential employer. The interview is as much a platform for you to get to know them as it is for them to get to know you. It is a mutual conversation. You should take the opportunity to ask as many questions as time allows, to determine important aspects relating to the company and the position on offer.

This is your opportunity to determine whether the job is in fact a right fit for you. Querying about the company culture and other details about the job will give you a better understanding of what you will be getting into and help you make the right decision with regard to your career.


An interview is your chance to put yourself on display. Some interviews require a presentation but this can also be done for those interviews that do not ask for it. Presentations can be shown using presentation software or good old-fashioned paper. Asking the interviewer if he/she would allow a small presentation will display to them that you are thorough and capable of putting your points across effectively. Assess the time frame of the interview in this regard, however. If there is not enough time, you don’t want to swap the time you could use for information gathering to show your presentation. Weigh out the situation.

Information Packs

These are a great way to share information with your interviewer. These can be handed out at the start or end of the interview to ensure the interviewer has all the information you would like them to have. It is also a way to show off your organizational skills and impress the interviewers.


The anxiety we feel during interviews usually leaves us a little parched. Having water with you will enable you to take a little sip at intervals so that your voice is restored. Many interviewers offer bottled water at the start of the interview. 

Tip: Limit consumables to water. Food and snacks are not to be taken into interviews. The anxiety may also leave you feeling the pang of hunger but eating is unacceptable during an interview. It is distracting and unprofessional. A solution to curb the hunger pangs is to have a good meal a few hours before the interview. This should be a nutritious meal and not something that is too heavy. Chewing gum is another no at an interview. This will destroy your first impression.


Presentation is a key aspect in making a good first impression. Walking into your interview sporting elegant carrying cases is sure to impress.

  1. Bag – An elegant satchel or briefcase to contain all your items will make a great statement when you walk into your interview. These have an elegant and tidy appearance. They also help keep your items organized, which is key in presentation. Having everything ordered ensures a smooth flow at the meeting. 

  2. Folder – A folder is another great of containing documents and stationery. This is a great way of having your notes and documents opened in front of you during the interview. This will give a neat appearance and keep documents organized so they can be accessed quickly when needed.

  3. Pen Cases – Neatly encased pens display elegance. This enables you to grab them quickly and easily when necessary instead of having to rummage through your bag. Most folders are equipped with compartments that pens can slide into. These are also a nifty and neat way to carry your pens into an interview.

  4. Card Cases – For those who are keen on business or personal contact cards, card cases are a nifty way to carry these into an interview. It provides an easy way to dish out your contact cards to those present in the interview. 

The Little Things

Interviews often have us feeling frazzled. There are some pleasant remedies for this, which help calm those nerves before you walk into the interview.

  1. Essential Oils – Essential oils such as lavender or citrus are great for invoking a feeling of calm. These can be placed in your bag or folder. They can also be inhaled prior to the interview. Avoid taking strong-smelling items into the interview. Overpowering aromas are distracting and will impact the interviewer negatively.

  2. Peppermint – Peppermint is great for calming an agitated tummy. Peppermint sweets can be chewed prior to the interview. Avoid chewing on these during the interview as it will have a less than desirable effect on the interviewer.

The Must-Haves

  1. Confidence – Having all the right items will prove moot if you do not exude confidence. A lack of confidence spells the end for your progress from the interview stage. Employers want to know that they are employing the right candidate for the job. They look for candidates who are not afraid to fulfill the requirements of the job, however stringent they may be. The interview is your chance to incite confidence in your interviewer that you are capable of fulfilling the role. Ensure that your confidence shines through during your interview.

    Be poised and speak boldly. If you are not usually confident at meetings, researching ways to boost your confidence is worth the effort.  If you go in with nothing but a confident approach, you can still win the interview. On the contrary, if you go in with everything but your confidence, you will lose the interview. Investing the time to build up your confidence is a must.

  2. Your Smile – We often get caught up in the seriousness of an interview and pay no attention to our expressions. Our faces often display creased foreheads and straight mouth lines. Despite the mounting nerves, don’t forget to let that smile out every so often. This will relax the interviewer as well as do wonders for your tension. It is a good idea to pause every so often, for a few seconds, to take a deep breath and remind yourself to turn the corners of your mouth slightly upward.


  1. Having your hair continuously fall on your face during an interview is distracting and looks clumsy. Pinning your hair back with a chic hairpin or grip will look presentable and allow your focus to redirect to the right places – your presentation and on the interviewer. 

  2. Tissues and handkerchiefs are always handy to have around but be sure to not hold them in your hands, use them too much or leave them lying around during the interview. Keep them neatly tucked in a pocket or in your bag for those emergency mop-ups, dabs, or sneezes.

  3. A shawl or coat is a nice accessory to have and always comes in handy especially in those chilly, air-conditioned rooms. Throwing them on, generally prompts someone in the room to change the setting of the air conditioner to one that is more comfortable, which is a plus for those who flourish in warmer climates. 

Interviews are the perfect opportunity to showcase your personality and capabilities. Selecting the appropriate gear to help you along, can make the interview process less daunting, give you the confidence boost you need, and display your personal signature to your interviewer. Take the time prior to an interview to, not only prepare your responses but also arrange the key items you will take with you.

These will help take the edge off and allow you to have a pleasant interview experience. The more you let yourself relax and enjoy your interview, the more you will be able to respond in an engaging manner which will display to your interviewer your ability to think on your feet. Your gear plays a large part in this and is the key to assisting you during the interview. Choose nifty items that will enable you to respond promptly, smartly, and with pizazz. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Would a backpack look cumbersome if carried into an interview?
    Backpacks are not necessarily too cumbersome. There are some nifty backpacks as well as over-the-shoulder laptop bags. Briefcases and satchels do look a tad neater and elegant but this is my opinion. Do not opt for bags that are too chunky, however, as these may be heavy. With interviews, less is more. This displays elegance and poise. Taking too many documents and equipment may give off the impression that you are nervous and unprepared.

  2. Do pens always have to be black?
    The general consensus is to sign in black ink because it is easily detectable. Many of us, however, love our blue pens. The solution: carry both-just in case. 

  3. Would it seem like bribery if I offer sweets to the interviewer?
    Although it may not be construed as bribery, offering anything to the interviewer is unnecessary and a time-waster. It may be a nice gesture but it will do nothing for your impression of the interviewer. Save the pleasant gestures for a later time. 

  4. Is it acceptable to carry a cellular telephone into an interview?
    Cellular telephones should not be carried to an interview. If it is necessary to have it on your person, ensure that it is on the silent setting or, if possible, turned off. Be sure to have it in a place where it will not be a distraction to you during the interview. If possible, leave your cellular telephone out of the interview room. Use electronic devices other than your cellular telephone for your presentations and notes during an interview.

  5. Can I take my take-away coffee into the interview?
    Aromas can be distracting and may not be to the liking of everyone present. It is a safer bet to take in water, which is a neutral commodity.

  6. Can I take a stress ball into an interview?
    This is a definite no. Your aim at an interview should be to display your confidence. A stress ball, although calming, portrays the opposite to onlookers. The appropriate stance at an interview is to sit upright with hands firmly positioned on the armrests of the chair or clasped in a relaxed position in your lap. No fidgeting.
What to bring to a job interview?- A Clear guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top